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The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed Phil Spector "was pronounced deceased of natural causes" on Jan. 16 at an outside hospital

By Maria Pasquini
January 17, 2021 11:53 AM
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Phil Spector
Phil Spector

Music producer Phil Spector has died. 

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation confirmed in a statement that Spector, 80, "was pronounced deceased of natural causes" on Jan. 16 at an outside hospital. 

"His official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner in the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office," the statement read.

Although a cause of death has yet to be determined, TMZ reported that Spector died of coronavirus-related complications.

Spector was sentenced 19 years to life for his second-degree murder conviction in the 2003 shooting of actress Lana Clarkson. 

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Credited with developing the "Wall of Sound," Spector produced hits for artists, including The Ronettes, The Beatles, and Tina Turner. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

Spector married first wife, Ronettes front-woman Ronnie Spector, in 1968. Throughout their abusive marriage, the producer kept her sequestered in their California mansion and subjected her to years of psychological torment before she was able to escape. "I thought, I wasn't going to sing again and that I was going to die there," she recalled to PEOPLE in 2018. She went on to divorce the producer in 1974, and move back to New York to rebuild her musical career.

In 2009, Spector was sentenced to prison.

Clarkson, a 40-year-old actress who starred in the 1985 cult film Barbarian Queen, was found in the foyer of Spector's mansion with a gunshot wound to the mouth in 2003. The defense claimed Clarkson was depressed over a breakup and used a 38-caliber pistol to kill herself.

Jurors in Spector's first trial, which ended in September 2007, failed to reach a verdict after deliberating for 15 days. His retrial began in October 2008.

He was depicted by Al Pacino in the HBO's 2013 biopic Spector, which chronicled his first trial.